Roberto Luongo isn’t watching much of the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year. The reason? The Florida Panthers goaltender finds it hard to watch from the sidelines now that he’s reached the ripe age of 38.
“When you’re younger, you’re just coming into the league and you’re just happy to be in the NHL. And you strive for the playoffs, but you tell yourself, if it didn’t happen this year, you got lots of time,” he said on Point Taken, a new Sportsnet 590 The Fan podcast hosted by Greg Brady and Caroline Cameron.
“But now that you’re older and you don’t know how many years you have left, you kind of relish every chance you get, and the fact that we were in the playoffs last year and now this year we’re not, it’s tough to watch. It’s tough to look at other teams still playing and you’re sitting on your couch and packing on the L-Bs now that you’re over 30 years old.”
There are exceptions, of course. If Luongo notices that a game has gone to overtime, he’ll have a look.
“I think it’s so exciting, and the best part of hockey,” he said.
While Luongo isn’t watching much hockey these days, he did watch replays of the controversial play in Game 5 of the Edmonton Oilers’ series with the Anaheim Ducks that saw former teammate Ryan Kesler fall onto the pads of goaltender Cam Talbot, allowing Rickard Rakell to score. After a review, Kesler was ruled not to have interfered with Talbot.
“It’s crazy, man,” Luongo said. “I don’t know. It’s tough to understand sometimes what the rule is, but you know, at the end of the day it’s part of hockey, and sometimes the decisions are gonna go for you—and in my case they’ll never go for you, so we just learn to live with those.”
Luongo isn’t sure how long he’ll play, though he has no plans to quit any time soon.
“I’d love to play as much as I could to be honest with you,” he said. “I love the game. I still enjoy it. I still feel that when I’m playing my best hockey I can play at a high level.”
The only thing holding back the Montreal native is his health including hip issues that caused him to not finish the season.
“That was disappointing for me,” he said, adding that he’s working to “get healthy again and hopefully get past it.”
Asked whether he’d like to coach someday when he calls it a career, Luongo shot down the idea, though he would entertain a management role.
But as far as Luongo is concerned, that’s a long way off. After the Panthers took a step back this year, the netminder is hoping for better results next season, which means hopefully playing a part in the post-season action rather than reading about it on Twitter.
“I don’t want to let go of that dream just yet,” he said.